The American Dream: Comfortable Expectations

By Doc Von Derwin

What is the American Dream? The founders of our great country dreamed of building a new nation, occupying and working the fruitful land that became so freely available after committing a mass genocide of the original owners. For the past couple hundred years, life has been about working hard to build a better country. The American people have fought bloody wars both abroad and at home, instituted a democratic system of government, and made massive leaps in industrialization and technology, all with the goal of making life easier and more comfortable for their descendants.

Now, we are so comfortable that we are looking for ways to be less comfortable. The release of every new product reminds us that our current device is a piece of shit, and we need pills to solve our restless leg syndrome. The American Dream has shifted from progress towards fulfilling the petty desires of its citizens, and these days we don’t know what we want or how to get it. Or the problem is that we want everything. I don’t know.

You put in your time in, you pay your taxes, and you retire. That’s what the American Dream was for my parents. There were fewer expectations for them: they were supposed to be college graduates, home owners, and breeders of tiny fresh humans. Maybe “fewer expectations” isn’t quite right, because the men were also expected to fight in a war at the drop of a hat and the women were expected to stay home and take care of the family and sleep with the milkman. Remember when milkmen were a thing?

Anyway, our society has progressed to the point that we’re now leaving the terrifying and sexist traditions of the past behind. There are so many people enlisted in the army that a draft is extremely unlikely, and women (lingering sexism aside) are free to be what they want – including, but not limited to, professional hacky-sack athletes. We have evolved the American culture in a way that grants its citizens maximum comfort and opportunity. When our parents complain how “Well back in my day, bak a brak booka brap,” it’s because we have it so much easier than they ever did. They can’t help but be upset about this very comfortable life that THEY made for us. Imagine how comfortable our own children will be, born with record deals already signed, and with Lexus’ instead of Hot Wheels.

Our American Dream has shifted because of this rampant consumerism. We have constant access to free content, we can socialize with people from any country with internet access, and our phones can access porn. Did you know that? What a time to be alive. With so much entertainment at our fingertips, we begin to mirror the personalities to which we’re exposed, which is why you can’t hire a millennial to work at a coffee shop un-ironically. “Hey, look at me making coffee like on TV,” he says as he puts soy milk in your drink that you didn’t ask for. Any college student has at some point heard someone in their class comment that, “Our apartment is like a TV show.”

This means that the modern American Dream is centered on creating an actual dream world for ourselves. Many people seek fame and admiration by constructing social media presences with no purpose except to describe everything they think and wear and eat. Go to YouTube and look up unboxing videos, and try to deny that we are trying whatever we can to be among the elite content creators of our society. Where do I fit in to all this? Well, I just wrote this article to be posted online so people can read it. I’m not here to change your thoughts or give you a fresh perspective; I’m just creating free entertaining content. I am just another millennial. Please notice me.